Since the 1990s, Thater, a pioneer of video art, has been producing video installations that focus on the mechanical aspects of media and the dynamics among humans, animals, and ecosystems across the globe.
"This is a very important moment to reevaluate her impact and her influence and importance in the history of video art and contemporary art in general. People are recognizing how influential she's been," says Justine Durrett, director of sales at David Zwirner in New York, the artist's New York representative since 1993.
The global subject matter of Thater's work resonates with an international collector base and "reaches an audience that goes beyond collectors who are purely interested in video art," says Durrett.
It's uncommon for Thater's work to reach the auction market; only three pieces have sold at auction since 2002. Nine Red Sun, 2000, sold at Lawson Menzies in Kensington, Australia, for $18,000 (est. $21–26,000) in 2002; Perpetual Motion Two, 2005, sold at Christie's South Kensington in September 2010 for an artist record of $77,000 (est. $31–45,000); and in March 2012, Composite Sun Video Wall, 2000, achieved $22,500 (est. $30–40,000) at Christie's New York. David Zwirner's most recent exhibition of the artist's work, "Diana Thater: Science, Fiction," which was on view from January 8 to February 21, 2015, offered works that ranged in price from $150,000 to $300,000. The artist's Starry Messenger, 2014, a nine-monitor video wall depicting the Milky Way, sold for $150,000.
The San Francisco native, who studied art history at New York University and received an mfa from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, is currently participating in the 56th Venice Biennale, where her "Vita Vitale" is part of a group show in the Azerbaijan Pavilion until November 22. "Diana Thater: The Sympathetic Imagination," a retrospective, will be on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art November 22 through February 21, 2016.
- Liza Muhlfeld